In-House Legal Tip: Reduce White Noise

• 27 Jul 23


Having audited the working days of hundreds of in-house legal teams, GLS is of the view that most in-house legal team members only manage to achieve around 3.5-4.5 actually productive hours per day.

To put it in another way – based on the 40-hour working week, in-house lawyers are only productive b/w 50% - 64% of their contracted working hours.

This insight is based on a definition of “productive” as being “time spent dedicated to the delivery of legal dept. services, including working on the apparatus that directly supports service delivery.”

So, what is corporate white noise? Well, anything that takes you away from the substance of your job as an in-house lawyer – which is providing advice, managing risk, and enabling the business to occur safely and efficiently. 

Examples include prolonged socializing (including checking social media), long lunch breaks, holiday event related lunches, farewells, personal telephone calls, unstructured meetings, unnecessary meetings, multi-tasking, poor communications, fixing errant IT, searching for mis-filed documents, sick days, document editing, office politics, frequent coffee breaks, internal conflicts, unnecessary admin, unnecessary HR processes, internal company forums, dubious external training. 

The HR / Happiness Directors out there will no doubt raise eyebrows reading these observations – and will passionately make the case that most of the above activities help to create “cohesive and harmonious workplaces”. 

Obviously, some of the above activities, if carefully curated, can help you in your role as in-house counsel. However, all too often, these activities are not carefully curated and the result is like salt in your diet – a little is essential, but a lot is harmful! 

Lawyers are far too expensive of a resource to spend 40-50% of their time playing “happiness”

Finally, a small insight from research done by a Magic Circle Firm that commissioned a leading Business School to ascertain what motivated its associates. The findings were not the “fluffy feel-good in the workplace stuff” but rather it was simply a large diet of high-quality work and the occasional pat on the back reinforced with sensible pay. That research was money well spent by that particular firm!

So the tip here for in-house leaders is to start shielding your in-house legal team from the corporate white noise – and then watch productivity (and morale) start to improve. 

The tip here for in-house lawyers is to avoid indulging in corporate white noise, Track your time, be accountable, and be distracted for as few minutes as you can each day. Then watch how quickly you start to demonstrably outperform your peers! 


Please check out the GLS solutions and know-how resources listed on the right side of this page – they might assist your legal team with the issues explored in this Blog. 

Of course, if you would like discuss your transformation needs – please book a 30 minute FREE CONSULT WITH GLS 

In the interim, here are 7 resources and tools that may assist you as you transform the performance capabilities of your legal team:

1. GLS's Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations: download this HERE, and read it thoroughly and regularly. It is a wonderful transformation companion

2. GLS Transformation Boot Camp: for our free and hugely successful, 10 week long, email-based boot camp on how to effectively transform your legal team you can SIGN UP HERE

3. GLS Knowledge Centre: click HERE to access lots of informative and instructive white papers, blogs and training resources etc. - all focused on helping to improve your legal team's performance

4. GLS Legal Operations Community: join the GLS Legal Operations Community and collaborate with other in-house leaders as they seek to tackle many of the same performance issues that you face, click here to JOIN NOW

5. Visit GLS Connect: visit the GLS CONNECT PAGE and select the information you would like to receive from the GLS Legal Operations Community

6. GLS Legal Team Transformation Plans: mitigate the risks of transformation failure by taking a GLS TRANSFORMATION SUPPORT PLAN 

7. Register: GLS Legal Operations Centre: REGISTER HERE to access the GLS Legal Operations Centre for free and to receive more than US$20,000 worth of legal team performance resources

© The GLS Group - Law Rewritten

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